tv [untitled] October 19, 2014 9:00pm-9:31pm PDT
if complaints have been reduced until the conclusion, but we can recognize from other agencies, the police executive review form and other places that have used cameras, that complaints against officers and complaints in general were greatly reduced. we'll be tracking the number of complaints we get and working with the office of citizen complaint. >> i want to note that the occ is here, joyce hicks. >> thank you, chair campos. >> thank you for being here and i'm sure other questions might arise from presentations from others so i 'd like you to of course be ready for any of those responses. thank you. >> i want to call up our public defender, jeff hidachi and thank you for your op ed
today. >> thank you for calling this hearing. i of course am in favor of body cameras. while i believe strongly in the right of privacy i think that the use of body cameras has the potential of radically reforming our public safety system for the better. body cameras are a shield for armor against false accusations and vindictive lawsuits. we're behind the curve in san francisco. officers in oakland, union city, los gatos, gill roy, brentwood, vallejo and campbell already wear them. there's no doubt based on the research and best practices that body cameras improve police conduct. in the first year the rialto
police department it was found that use of force fell my 60% and citizen complaints fell by 88% within one year. why is in? this? because there's an objective record which is the benefit of having a camera. studies say that the effect of third-party observers on behavior plays a mayor role. we've seen this as people have cameras on their phones and often will video arrest in other parts of a detention or interaction with law enforcement and we've seen the impact on that when that occurs. as you recall we had an incident in san francisco where my office obtained have had owe showing officers violating the constitutional rights of individuals living in an sro hotel and based on
that we were able to institute some reforms. put simply, knowing that i recall conduct is being recorded keeps people honest. there is a recent federal survey of 63 law enforcement agencies that used cameras and they found that nearly a third of the agencies had no written policy on the devices. i would like to see the written policy we have. i brought a copy of the policy from duluth, minnesota. i know the public defender there and they have recently armed all their police officers with a camera. they go to a computer and they're available to the police, prosecutors and defense council.
cameras alone would solve misconduct unless we have strict policies in place that dictate when those cameras are to be used you're not going to see a return on the investment. in 2012 an oakland high school student was shot by an oakland police officer. some witnesses said that the young man was reaching for, holding a gun, others said there was no gun and he was trying to stand up after falling down. we'll never know the version of the story that's correct, because although the officer was wearing a lapel camera he had turned it off right before the interaction. the aclu is here and i agree we have to address those privacy concerns. police often have interactions in homes during the worst
moments of a citizen's life and so the policy has to contain protections and penalties against leaking the footage. i have a copy of the policy from the duluth police department. i have three copies for you and i'd be happy to make it available to anyone else who wants to see it, but these policies are good. they cover when the cameras are on. it's a much broader list than what i heard referenced earlier. in duluth they include traffic stops, violations, stranded motorist situations, vehicle pursuits, arrests, vehicle searchs, physical and verbal confrontations, use of force, prisoner transports, crimes in progress, taking a statement or information from a suspect or witness, you know, which is key, again, because you're not going to have differing interpretations as to what somebody said.
they also include any situation or incident that the officer through training and experience believes should be audibly or visually preserved and then it has instances where recordings should be stopped in certain instances. they have other instances where the recording is prohibited to protect the officer's right of privacy and the citizens. it also sets forth when the recordings may be reviewed and by who. >> we don't have anything like that in our police department in terms of the pilot program? >> i don't know because i haven't seen it. i just heard a reference earlier to i guess some policies. >> we can have deputy -- >> i'm sorry. >> repeat the question. >> so he had mentioned there are rules in duluth, minnesota
that determine when the body cameras are used and how and it was pretty detailed, especially the list of interactions and i'm wondering what rules that we have in place about when the cameras will be used. you did mention briefly that there's discretion about consensual encounters, but i didn't quite hear other rules and policies in place about the camera use. >> there are rules in place and again, the policy is at the city attorney's office being reviewed. people are weighing in so it's not adopted yet, hasn't been presented before the police commission yet, but definitely, like was said, we want to support the privacy rights, things with juveniles, people that are victims of sexual assaults. i think there's things of when to use cameras and how to document the evidence and how it's maintained.
>> it's in the policy, so yes, the general order. >> and i think it would be great for us to be able to see them as wl. >> right. and once the draft is approved we'll make sure that's available. >> thank you. within thing that i would note is that if there's an opportunity for us to review those and provide our perspective, i think that would be valuable. what happens is a policy comes out, there are unintended consequences, it's not thought of in terms of what we need from our perspective in order to prepare defense and what happens is we litigate this in court. i would prefer a more collaborative approach since we all agree that if used properly these cameras can be valuable for both sides and i have a good relationship with the chief and my hope is we have an opportunity to review
the criteria here before they are implemented. >> just on that point, i would con sur. concur. i think that makes lot of sense. the cameras have the ability to bridge relationships because of perceptions of putt it out there that that could be -- there could be that sharing of general order before it's actually adopted by the police commission. >> i know that's the expectation. i'm certain that the chief would agree with that. it's not fully framed yet, but once it' fully framed we'll collaborate. we want in to work so collaborating is definitely -- >> just in conclusion, with the right planning and protections, body cameras can shed light on flashes that leave citizens confused and
anguished. it would have provided critical information in the ferguson case in the killing of michael brown or answers in the case much closer to home. it's an objective witness that's capable of implicating and exonerating suspects. we need objectivity in san francisco. thank you. >> i have a question, and again i want to thank our public defender for being so proactive on so many of these issues and we're very lucky to have him and the work that he does. by the way, to the extent that there's a review of the policy and the department of general order when it comes out, we've had joint meetings of the public safety committee, the board and police commission before, so maybe that
presents an opportunity to have a join discussion. but i do have a question about the pilot and maybe i meant to ask this of the chief as well and whoever would like to comment, in terms of the pilot, is it better to have a pilot where you have x number of cameras spread across a number of district? i'm trying to understand the efficacy of either approach. >> i know that chief has given this great thought and they've given it great consideration, basically it's assigned to the investigative unit. they're all one unit housed in different locations. they overall mission and goal is the same.
similar to how our motorcycle officers are deployed, they all come out of the traffic division but are assigned to different places. because we only had 165 cameras we had to figure out the best was to move forward. again, this is a pilot so we can shake it out if it's not fruitful. >> is it better to the extent we're looking at the -- wlornts it makes sense to have the entire police force have cameras, does it make sense to simply concentrate on one district or everyone in that district will have the cameras as opposed to dividing it among the ten districts. >> i know the chief gave that great consideration and he wanted to make sure it started with supervisors so we can get the buy in from all the troops so i think that's the strategy moving forward is to make sure we start at the top and then
seeds itself throughout the department. >> i see, thank you. >> the only thing i would add to that is it depends on what you want to measure. if you want to measure the impact that the cameras have on a particular crime problem in a community then obviously you want to focus the cameras in that community and target certain types of arrests. for example you could target car thefts or certain types of crime. on the other hand, as the captain said, if the goal is to have the senior staff become more familiar with the process -- it is a huge administrative responsibility. plus, you know, we haven't had the best of luck with technology in the criminal justice system so that's going to present a challenge as well.
if the focus is just to get supervising police officers familiar with the technology, i think that would be the way to go. i think we have to be aware of limitations. if only certain police officers throughout the city are going to be given the cameras. >> i had one more comment about that is if we put it all in one neighborhood, we don't want to target one community, one group of people, it's better to spread across the board because the goal of the police department is to target behavior, not people so it's important that we do it across the board. >> thank you. f >> great, thank you. appreciate both of your presentations. i also want to call up miss joyce hicks from the office of citizen complaints.
occ, particularly through our policy analysts, meets not only with the police department, but also with members of the community because one of the things that has been pointed out in this 76 page report from the police executive research forum, and that is extremely important to have the community buy in before implementing a body mounted camera program. both sides of the fence support body cameras and it was decided to get in front of this issue by understanding that this is the new technology that many members of the community are using
camera phones to record police encounters so it would be important to have a defined recommendations about what is key to an effective body worn camera program and one that protects privacy. what i would say about [inaudible] referenced that. perf sent out 500 surveys to 500 police departments. over 200 police departments responded to that survey. then -- but only 63 departments had cameras. then they conducted a town hall meeting, and they had
police chiefs and scholars to discuss these cameras. they developed 37 recommendations, but addressing privacy issues in particular they said that agencies must factor in privacy rights when it comes to recording victim interviews, involving rape, abuse, nudity and other sensitive subjects and when recording in peoples' homes. they indicated that the most common approach, though, keeping privacy under consideration, the most common approach of those 63 police departments is that their policies require the officers to record all calls for service and law enforcement related encounters and activities and only to deactivate the camera at the conclusion of the event or with supervisor approval because there is room for abuse if an officer has discretion. and departments have reported
that they have observed a few officers engaging in discretionary -- improper discretionary cutsing off the recorder and they were disciplined. it's important to define what constitutes a law enforce m related activity. if it's impractical or impossible to record. and then finally to promote accountability that most policies require officers to document on camera or in writing why the officer deactivated the camera. as was previously mentioned, some agencies have reported a significant reduction in civilian complaints and also in use of force incidents. it's the position of some
police chiefs that it encourages better conduct on both sides, both from the officer, as well as from the civilian. but one thing that made me take pause in reading this study is that some internal affairs divisions use the footage from the body mounted camera to show to the complainant and then they indicate -- and then the complainant withdraws the complaint, but that's not the story for the occ because what's recorded on the camera doesn't encompass all the possibilities of neglecttive duty, failure to follow policy. it is evidence, but not the only evidence. what has been urged is that when an officer wears a body
mounted camera, that does enable the viewers to see things from the officers' perspective. additionally, the data from body mounted cameras can be used for training purposes. if the department sees a pattern of activity that they believe should change they can use that for training purposes and for an agency like myself, which is his historically and continues to be underfunded in terms of having adequate investigators, it can be very useful in resolving complaints more quickly. in those instances where it's a one-on-one encounter and nearly impossible to prove or disprove without additional evidence. it also been found by some
departments, police departments that they have been able to determine racial profiling instances with these body mounted cameras where those types of complaints are very difficult to prove otherwise. the occ supports the concept of the san francisco police department pilot project. we've not yet seen the policy. we would encourage that there be collaborative meetings, including my agency, of course the public defender and other members of the community and if governed a clear, written policy, we believe that body worn cameras -- the occ believes the body worn cameras can create greater transparency, accountability, enhanced investigations of police misconduct and improved community police relations. thank you. >> thank you very much.
really appreciate your presentation. colleagues, any comments or questions? so i actually want to call the deputy chief up and i do really appreciate your statement that we want to make sure that these cameras are going to be used effectively, there's unput from departments. director hicks mentioned making thur there was vetting with the community. that's a good practice. that's something that would be available for people in san francisco as you're developing your policy that'll be shared with -- >> that's the goal just like when we redid the community policing kind of a general orderly one. >> great, so there'll be vetting with departments. i think it'll be great at some point if that was reviewed by this committee, be a good
place to review as well and with the community, i'm glad to hear that. there was discussion about discretion, when cameras are turned on and off. if you could summarize that, just your approach you already have in place. >> there's some things that are not appropriate to let cameras in and we want to be very sensitive to protecting peoples' dignity and rights. >> you mentioned in your first presentation that there was discussion around the use of cameras during consensual -- >> consensual encounter is you walk up, say hi, mind if i talk to you. so sometimes we receive complaints that are very vague
and they'll say don't do that and we'll respect that. >> quick question, if i may. this goes back to what director hicks was saying. when a camera's turned off, does the officer have to get permission to do that or does the officer have the ability, authority to do that on their own? >> you mean like admitted event. >> no, i think once the contact ra's activated we'd expect them to keep the camera on; however, it is technology so i don't know if that's -- i mean, i would imagine sometimes they have [inaudible]. >> i don't think i have any other city staff who are presenting, but as far as public comment, i want to call up first, the aclu and we have
tessa who's here. >> good afternoon, thank you. i represent the aclu of northern california and i want to commend the board of supervisors and the san francisco police department for proactively considering body cameras and really looking into what that would mean and what that would look like. body cameras have the potential to quickly resolve questions following an encounters, prevent problems from arising in the first place by increasing both officer professionalism and better public behavior when they know they're being recorded and help agencies to identify and correct larger structure al problems. we think they can be a win win, but only if they are deployed within framework of strong and enforceable policies to ensure they protect the public and our officers without becoming yet another system for routine surveillance that assumes
if that is my understanding i want to flag that as a concern because i'm not sure the pilot will align with the purpose we're trying to achieve. the public really needs an opportunity to weigh in so i want to reiterate what miss hicks said when they talked about bringing in other city officials, could bety officials, the public, the community and really ensuring there is a robust public process. thank you. >> thank you. any other member of the public who'd like to comment. i have angela chan, but i don't see her in the audience. it is now open if people want to come up. if you're going to speak you could perhaps line up along the wall by the windows would